Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Italian Greyhound: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

italian greyhound

Height: 13–15 inches
Weight: 7–14 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: White, blue, red, fawn, sable, gray, black
Suitable for: Active families looking for a low-shedding dog
Temperament: Loving, intelligent, friendly, energetic, loyal

The Italian Greyhound is an ideal canine companion for the individual or family who can lavish as much attention as this active pup wants. He is a lover. While grooming is easy, training, particularly housebreaking, is sometimes a challenge with this breed. However, this pooch is affectionate with just about anyone he meets, making him a joy to own.

Although he is a sighthound, today’s Italian Greyhound is more content as a lapdog. However, selective breeding for this role resulted in the sleek body shape of this elegant-looking dog. It also accounts for the keen athleticism of this pooch. This pup can run if given a chance. Overall, he is a devoted companion that does well with children who play nice with him.

Divider 1

Italian Greyhound Puppies

Italian greyhound
Image Credit: kasakphoto, Shutterstock

Individuals looking for a loyal and adaptable pet need look no further than the Italian Greyhound. This pooch does well in an apartment. It’s probably a better choice too, given his wanderlust potential and strong prey drive. He is also an intelligent dog that sometimes is too smart for his own good. However, he is a playful pup that never seems to grow up and act like an adult.

The Italian Greyhound is a lot of dog in a small body. He is independent yet prone to separation anxiety if left alone too often. As you may expect, he is not tolerant of the cold, with his short coat. He is relatively healthy with few glaring issues apart from gum disease. Prospective pet owners must take an active role in dental care. On a positive note, joint conditions like hip dysplasia are rare in this breed.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Italian Greyhound

1. The Italian Greyhound Is an Ancient Breed

Not many dogs have the lengthy history of the Italian Greyhound. His lineage goes back thousands of years to the times of the Egyptians. Remains of a pooch were even found in the archaeological site of Pompei in Italy.

2. The Italian Greyhound Has Friends in High Places

There’s no denying that the Italian Greyhound is cute. How can you resist those adorable brown eyes? Many in royalty have thought the same thing. Among the pup’s human companions are members of the nobility, such as Catherine the Great, Louis XIV, and James I of England.

3. The Elegant Form of the Italian Greyhound Caught the Eye of Many Famous Artists

It’s easy to see that the Italian Greyhound is a natural when it comes to art, which makes him the perfect subject. Many renowned artists agreed. This handsome dog is featured in paintings by Carpaccio, Sassetta, and Giotto, among others.

Italian Greyhound
Image Credit: Alexandra Morrison Photo, Shutterstock

Divider 3

Temperament & Intelligence of the Italian Greyhound 🧠

Attention is the operative word when it comes to the Italian Greyhound. He needs it from you. You must keep an eye on him, even if you have a fenced-in yard. He will scale it and bolt if a rabbit scurries by outside of it. This pup is smart, but he is also independent and sometimes a bit aloof in his demeanor. His mind is always working, so bear that in mind if you turn your back on him.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Italian Greyhound is a devoted pet, which makes him an excellent choice for individuals and families who want an affectionate pup. Look no further. These dogs are quite playful and will do well with children who know to be gentle with him. He is sometimes wary of strangers. That makes early socialization a must.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Because of his small size, the Italian Greyhound will do best in homes with dogs of a similar size to reduce the risk of injury. Cats are another story. If your kitty runs from him, expect a chase. Those sighthound instincts will take over in the pursuit. The same thing may also apply to younger children because of this breed’s strong prey drive.

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning an Italian Greyhound:

Owning any pet is a serious responsibility. It’s no different from the Italian Greyhound. Many aspects of ownership are similar to any smaller breed. Others are unique to this one, such as the challenge of housebreaking. The essential thing to remember with him and any dog is to be consistent. They’re smart enough to figure things out as long as you play by one rulebook.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

With a dog this small, it’s imperative to make sure he eats. The Italian Greyhound, like other toy breeds, is susceptible to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar if it drops too quickly or too much. His higher energy level increases his risk. We suggest feeding frequent meals to ensure everything stays stable. Also, make sure to feed him a commercial diet suited for pups of his size and life stage.

Exercise 🐕

As we’ve said, the Italian Greyhound can live happily as a city dog. However, he still needs a daily walk for both his physical and mental health. That is the bane of a smart canine. They must have mental stimulation if just to keep them out of mischief. Suffice to say that he will find amusement, even if you’re not providing it in a suitable way.

Training 🦮

The Italian Greyhound occupies both sides of the spectrum. Yes, he’s intelligent, but he is also willful. He is smart, but he also gets bored quickly. He picks up complex tasks readily but is challenged with the basics like housebreaking. A first-time pet owner can work well with an Italian Greyhound. He just needs to follow a set routine to make it easier for the pup to catch on to what’s expected of him.

italian greyhound running
Image By: Jumpstory

Grooming ✂️

Here is one point where the Italian Greyhound exceeds. He is definitely low maintenance when it comes to grooming. There are no fancy haircuts or daily brushings. His coat and skin will respond well to a weekly rub with a hound glove or curry brush. It will stimulate blood circulations for improved skin health.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Italian Greyhound doesn’t have the litany of health issues that some breeds have. Most are common to the size of the dog. His short coat makes him intolerant of the cold, which isn’t unexpected. His acrobatics can get him in trouble if he hurts himself in a fall. Otherwise, this pup is vulnerable to gum disease, which requires the necessary preventive care.

Minor Conditions
Serious Conditions
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis

Male vs Female

Male and female Italian Greyhounds are nearly identical in size and weight. Their temperament is also similar. The only question that remains is whether you want to mate your pet and enjoy a litter of puppies. Otherwise, we suggest neutering your pup when the time is appropriate based on the recommendations of your veterinarian.

Divider 3


The Italian Greyhound might be a small dog, but he has more than his share of personality and energy. He is a sweetheart of a pet that will adore his family as much as you will him. He is in touch with his hunting past and will give chase when an opportunity arises. However, this pup is an intelligent canine with a fascinating history that speaks volumes about the value of inviting one into your life.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: JeebyJeeby, Pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database